Come to Hawaii for the transit of Venus!

Posted by David Eicher
on Friday, February 03, 2012

The last transit of Venus in our lifetimes will take place Tuesday, June 5, 2012. You can see a portion of this rare and storied event, in which the disk of Venus crosses the face of the Sun, from North America. But Hawaii is one of the closest places where you can see the whole transit — and it’s a pretty nice place to be.

W. M. Keck Observatory
I’ll have the privilege of accompanying readers of the magazine on a trip to Hawaii to see the transit this June. In conjunction with Melita Thorpe of MWT Associates, the magazine is hosting this event from June 2–7. I’ll be speaking about several subjects as we go along, as will my friend and a great astronomer, Alex Filippenko of the University of California, Berkeley.

This trip has been so popular that another tour has already been added, from June 4–9. I will be there the whole time to enjoy Hawaii with all of the travelers.

But as is always the case with Melita’s trips, there is the big astronomical event — and there is so much more, too. The journey will commence in Kona, our base camp at the Royal Kona Resort, where we will luxuriate for five nights as we enjoy astronomy. We’ll enjoy a dinner cruise and the following day a trip to the summit of Mauna Kea, the vast complex of observatories that includes some of the world’s largest and most important telescopes. The group will specifically visit and tour the Keck telescopes, the twin 10-meter giants that have transformed our understanding of deep space.

The following day, we’ll enjoy the transit itself in the western afternoon sky. More than six hours will pass as the tiny black dot of Venus crosses the Sun’s face. It will literally be the astronomical event of a lifetime. The Big Island of Hawaii is the easternmost location from which the entire event will be visible.

Sightseeing in Hilo will follow, home base to many astronomers who live on the island and monitor the universe from the defunct volcanic mountaintop far above.

There will certainly be time for enjoying the natural beauty of Hawaii, which is one of the most breathtaking spots on Earth.

For more information on the trip, see: www.Astronomy.com/magazine/trips-tours.aspx.

I’ll see you there!

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